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Old 06-16-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
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Took your advice = A Bigger SUV

Hi guys:

We're selling our 2004 Chevy Trailblazer (5100 lb. towing capacity) because after crunching the numbers and reading your informative replies, it's not big enough to tow a 4,600 dry travel trailer. Basically, we'd be over the 10,000 GCWR for the TB.

So, we're getting a 2002 Dodge Durango SLT, 4.7L V8 with a towing capacity of 7,550. I haven't crunched the numbers yet, but I'm certain it will tow our Crossroads Zinger 25RK (4,600 lbs.) not including what we put in it.

I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has had a similar set up and your towing experience with it.

Thanks so much!
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:03 PM   #2
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Lori,
So glad that you are following maufacturers guidlines, as far as the Durango goes, follow the numbers the same way that you did the TB. Whether it is enough vehicle or not depends on those numbers. I think you are heading in the right direction anyways.
Frank
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:24 AM   #3
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Yeah, you're probably on the right track, but you still cannot haul an SUV full of passengers and tow a 6,000 pound trailer at the same time without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle. GVWR of your tow vehicle is your limiter, not the "tow rating". The tow rating tells you the maximum weight you can pull with an empty SUV, but ignores the maximum weight you can haul without being overloaded.

The CAT scale is your friend, so weigh the wet and loaded rig while on the road, and be sure the combined weight on the two SUV axles does not exceed the GVWR of the SUV.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #4
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We are newbys...

....having only pulled our camper on 6 different trips. However in the past 15 months we have towed 15,700 miles plus. We have a small Kodiak with 3,880 lbs gross wt. We pulled it once with a Jeep Liberty with a 5,000 lb. tow capacity(in the mountains) and it cost us a $4,700.00 transmission.

So we bought a new Grand Cherokee with the Hemi- 360 hp. engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Towing capacity 7,400. lbs.

We tow out west in Colorado/Utah/Arizona/New Mexico mountains and canyonlands....mostly high altitudes....except for the trip across the plains between Missouri and the mountains. Anyway the G.C. has tons of power and pulls the camper with ease...... over a 10,600 Rocky Mt. pass no problem....but it works the heck out of the engine. The gears/transmission ratios are to high for towing purposes....having been designed for economy. The transmission runs in 4th gear most of the time and often in 3rd with the RPM cranked up between 2,500 and 3,000 rmp at 65 mph. Long, steep, high grades and it will kick into 2nd gear and 4,000 rpm. Fuel economy? 8 mpg Zero wind. Slow down to 50 mph and one can get barely 10 mpg with zero wind.

We love the G.C. It is a fabulous vehicle...but not really a great towing machine. I wonder if your Durango will have similiar experience. And your TT is much heavier than ours. Of course if you are traveling mostly in the flat lands....different story. Jeep is offering a diesel engine with an 8 speed tranny in the G.C. for 2014. That should do the job. Guess we bought a year too soon. 37,000 miles on the G.C. in 15 months. We travel!

Offered only as food for thought from someone who has so much to learn.

Bob
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:01 PM   #5
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My previous TV was a 2001 Dodge Dakota with the 4.7L engine in it. We pulled a trailer that weighed about 4500 lbs when loaded with our gear. It did an "ok" job around the Indiana Michigan area, but it always felt like it was working harder than it should. I would not have been comfortable taking this into mountain areas with long steep grades. It may have been nicer if they had coupled it with anything other than a 4-speed transmission.

After about a year of towing with this setup it started showing signs of transmission overheat after about 1.5 hours into any trip (rather hills or flat). We ended up getting rid of it and upgrading to a Yukon Denali with a 6.0L engine, which does a MUCH nicer job.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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We had a similar set up as itscottw - ours was a 2000 Dodge Durango 4.7L pulling a 4700lb when loaded 25ft Aerolite (pic below). I agree w/his assessment. Ours handled the same, plus we got pushed around by passing semis & the wheelbase on the Durango wasn't really suited to pulling a 25ft TT. IMO, the Durango isn't the best choice for your towing needs.

Lori-
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:00 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your time and feedback!

Well, we ditched the Durango idea and we're looking at a pretty Ford Expedition 5.4L V8 today. If that doesn't tow 5,000 lbs, we're gonna buy a tent and scrap the whole idea. ;-)
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:24 AM   #8
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Lori,
Don't get discouraged, it just takes diligence to get the right vehicle to tow safely. Even with the Expedition, you still have to check your numbers. Also the 5.4 L motor will be marginal depending on the rear end ratio. It will work, but as I stated, might be marginal on power. Good luck, and happy RV ing.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
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You'll find something, I'm sure. Our members know towing & will help you figure out what you need to be safe. One word of advice, take "pretty" out of the equation. Don't be swayed by the glitz or bells & whistles. Any tow vehicle can look pretty, but it might not tow anything more than a pop up. Stick to the equations & run the numbers so you won't regret your choice.

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Old 06-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #10
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Lori,

I used to have a 2006 Expedition with the 5.4L. I believe it was rated to tow 9200lbs....IF it had the factory tow package. There are several out there from rental fleets that do not have the factory package, do not buy one of these. We towed a 7000lbs race trailer with a WD hitch. It worked fine and we had plenty of power. The engine didn't really struggle, but the mileage was only 8mpg. We only towed around Florida but I'd suspect with your trailer it would be ok in the hills and mountains. You would also have the capacity for passengers and gear. Good luck.

Joe
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:12 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Yesterday we just about gave up and when I looked one last time on Craigslist there was a 2003 Chevy Suburban, 5.3L V8 that looked like new.

We drove an hour to see it and it was love at first site. It's in such beautiful condition and drives like a dream. 5.3L V8 and I'm confident it'll tow our 4,600 lb. RV with no problem. It has a built-in transmission and power steering cooler and we're going to use the WD hitch and sway bars. It also has the heavy duty trailer package.

I really appreciate all of the valuable feedback that I received here. I hope I can repay the kindness once I have a little more experience with RVing.

Hugs.

Lori
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:50 AM   #12
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Pay it forward. If it has the HD trailering package, then it probably has the correct axle ratio to pull heavy loads. Also, make sure it has proper extendable mirrors for towing a wide load such as your camper.

If it doesn't, you can buy aftermarket mirrors fairly inexpensively. These mirrors on ebay are fully manual, but will extend out for towing. I'm not sure how good they are, but all they need to do is hold peices of glass in place. Towing Black Manual Side Mirrors Left Right Pair Set for Chevy GMC Pickup | eBay
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Meyer View Post
Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Yesterday we just about gave up and when I looked one last time on Craigslist there was a 2003 Chevy Suburban, 5.3L V8 that looked like new.

We drove an hour to see it and it was love at first site. It's in such beautiful condition and drives like a dream. 5.3L V8 and I'm confident it'll tow our 4,600 lb. RV with no problem. It has a built-in transmission and power steering cooler and we're going to use the WD hitch and sway bars. It also has the heavy duty trailer package.

I really appreciate all of the valuable feedback that I received here. I hope I can repay the kindness once I have a little more experience with RVing.

Hugs.

Lori
Sounds like a great choice for your trailer. Inside the glovebox is a sticker with a bunch of 3 letter codes on it. If you search online you can find what they mean. It will tell you what all your drivetrain options are including gear ratios and cooling options.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #14
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Lori

I think you made a better choice. I tow a similar weight TT with my Avalanche (same bones as the suburban) and it pulls ok. It works a little hard on steep grades but it keeps up with the big trucks.

I think it will be a lot more stable then the trailblazer or Durango with it having a longer wheelbase, especially with a well setup weight distributing hitch.

And remember to use the tow/haul mode.

Just one thought I did have to replace my brake lines due to rust, maybe make sure yours seem good ( you'd be better to know now) We use a lot of road salt up here, yours may be fine.


Best of luck, we're excited for you

Bill
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